10 Europa Universalis 4 Beginner Tips for Empire Building

This is a game guide that includes numerous Europa Universalis 4 beginner tips. EU 4 can be a little bewildering when you first start playing it. To get your country on the right track in Europa Universalis 4, check out the EU 4 beginner tips below.

10 Europa Universalis 4 Beginner Tips for Empire Building

Europa Universalis 4 is an absorbing empire-building strategy game for Windows. It includes hundreds of playable countries players can rewrite history with from 1444 up to 1821. However, EU 4 does have a bit of a learning curve. Here are some Europa Universalis 4 beginner tips for players new to the game.

Read the Game Manual

This might sound like an obvious tip. What’s not so obvious, however, is where exactly the Europa Universalis 4 manual is. You can’t open a manual for EU 4 from within the game or its folder.

To find Europa Universalis 4’s manual, do a Google search for it. Enter the keyword “Europa Universalis 4 manual” in Google. Then you can click the Manual – Our games search result at the top of Google to open the EU 4 manual’s PDF in Chrome, Edge, or Firefox. Some beginner players will find that manual enlightening.

The Europa Universalis 4 manual

The Europa Universalis 4 manual

Aside from the manual, Paradox Grand Strategy also has a beginner tutorial video series for Europa Universalis 4 on YouTube. You can find those videos on the Paradox Grand Strategy YouTube channel. The clip below is a video from that series that goes through the basics of EU 4.

Europa Universalis IV: Tutorial For Complete Beginners with MordredViking #1 - The Basics

Disable Forts to Save Capital

Fort maintenance can be quite a big expense in Europa Universalis 4. You can save money in peacetime by disabling, or mothballing forts, to halve their maintenance costs. To do so, deselect the fort maintenance checkbox on the province tab shown directly below. Then you’ll free up more capital for building and recruitment.

The option for reducing fort maintenance.

The option for reducing fort maintenance.

Have a Casus Belli for War

A casus belli is a valid case for war. Declaring war on a country without a casus belli comes with severe -2 stability and +20 base aggressive penalties. If you make a habit of it, other countries will establish coalitions against you, which could result in a very costly campaign against your nation.

So, don’t go to war without a casus belli. When there isn’t a casus belli available, you can generate one by planting spies within bordering countries. With enough spies planted, you can select a fabricate claim option to generate a casus belli for declaring war without penalty.

Casus belli options

Casus belli options

Keep an Eye on Your Scoring Stats

Europa Universalis 4 has a historic scoring system for ranking countries during games. Your country must be within the top 10 of one of the diplomatic, military, and administrative scoring categories to amass historic score points. These are some of the most important factors that determine your score:

  • Administrative: Admin technology level, admin ideas, income total, stability level, prestige rating, and legitimacy 
  • Diplomatic: Diplomatic technology level, diplomatic ideas, navy size, navy morale, number of merchants, number of admirals, strong allies, and trade efficiency
  • Military: Military technology level, military ideas, army size, army morale, number of generals, and fort level

You can keep an eye on your scoring stats via the game’s ledger index. Select Country > Score Comparison on that index to bring up the scoring table in the snapshot below. That shows you your country’s current scoring level in each of the three categories and where you rank. If your country isn’t in the top 10 for any categories there, it won’t amass any points.

The Score Comparison index

The Score Comparison index

Don’t Let Inflation Get Too High

Inflation is the gradual increase in prices the Economy tab displays with a percentage figure. High inflation can notably reduce your county’s revenue yield. So, be prepared to sacrifice some admin monarch points to keep inflation down at a reasonable level. You can reduce inflation by clicking the button on the Economy tab in the screenshot directly below.

The option for reducing inflation.

The option for reducing inflation.

Establish Alliances With Countries That Have Big Militaries

Alliances are very important in Europa Universalis 4. Most countries in the game will have at least one ally. So, you’re going to need some allies of your own to build a serious empire.

Try to establish at least one alliance with a country within your own nation’s geographical sphere that has a big military. Countries like France, Ottoman, Austria, England, Muscovy (for Russia), Castille (for Spain), and Ming (in Asia) are among the strongest nations to align with during the early game. Those countries can be invaluable to have on your side during wars.

Europa Universalis IV Launch Trailer

Keep Autonomy Down in Provinces

Autonomy is how much control over its affairs a province has. The higher autonomy is in your provinces, the less revenue they’ll generate for your country. High autonomy levels in your provinces will ruin your country’s economy. Therefore, keeping autonomy down is crucial to a healthy economy. These are some of the various ways you can reduce autonomy in provinces:

  • Reduce corruption levels
  • Establish states
  • Increase Absolutism
  • Select the Decrease autonomy option (can generate unrest)
  • Build courthouses and town halls
  • Increase crown estate land (autonomy rises when your crown land share is less than 20 percent)

Don’t Waste Military Monarch Points on Curbing Revolts

Revolts (or rebellions) are something you’ll need to deal with during Europa Universalis 4 games. After you’ve grabbed some provinces from another country in a war, a few rebel uprisings will often start brewing. When a rebellion starts, you’ll have to fight a rebel army.

Rebellions can be a real nuisance, but it’s not worth trying to curb them with the Harsh Treatment option. Selecting that option only delays, not stops, an uprising from starting. You’ll waste a lot of monarch military points by selecting Harsh Treatment with regularity.

The Harsh Treatment option

The Harsh Treatment option

Another way to deal with rebellions is to place troops in provinces where the unrest is brewing. Doing so will gradually reduce the amount of unrest in the affected province and might even stop the rebellion. If that’s not enough, just let an uprising happen – but make sure you’re prepared for it. Then crush the rebels with your army.

Check Countries’ Military Details Before Declaring Wars

Always look before you leap into war. Check both the respective size and tech level of the target country’s military. You can view general military size and tech level details for a country on its Diplomacy tab. Alternatively, look through the ledger index to check how big a potential enemy’s army and navy is. Don’t forget to take into account the allies a country has when weighing up whether to declare war on it either.

The Diplomacy tab

The Diplomacy tab

When it comes to picking fights, target weaker countries that you can defeat more easily in low-risk wars. If there aren’t any small nations on your national border, you can establish overseas colonies that border small nations. High-risk wars against bigger countries are something to avoid until later in a game a least.

Grab Provinces in Southern Africa

Colonization is the best way to expand peacefully in Europa Universalis 4. There’s a whole new world to discover in the Americas, Africa, and some of the Far East in EU 4. The southern tip of Africa is an entirely uninhabited area where you can establish a good number of new provinces peacefully. If you can get there first, you’ll discover an expansive area where you can establish up to 19 new provinces without forming any new colonial nations.

A fully colonized southern Africa.

A fully colonized southern Africa.

To establish overseas provinces, unlock Exploration Ideas ASAP. Then build a few ships, stick some troops in them, recruit an explorer and conquistador, and set sail to the new world! Check out southern Africa when you’re looking for territory to grab.

Europa Universalis 4 is a fascinating game when you get to grips with it. Those Europa Universalis 4 beginner tips above will help you build a bigger and better empire. Now go and rewrite history in EU 4!

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